Even Stealth Marketers Don’t Trust Native Ads

The hardtracking staff may soon be out of business if we keep seeing headlines like this one (via MediaPost):

Marketers Still Not Sold On Native Advertising

Nut graf:

What’s really keeping more marketers from going native is a lack of quality content, continued measurement issues and the category’s perceived inability to trade programmatically.

(Not to mention our total inability to say what “trade programmatically” means. But we can say that native ads are the ones tricked out to look just like editorial content – you know, ads in sheep’s clothing.)Screen-Shot-2014-07-10-at-1.56.05-PM-300x202

The MediaPost piece cites research from DMR and TripleLift, but more telling are these numbers from Contently’s new research report, A Crisis of Confidence: The State of Content Marketing Measurement . . .

Read the rest at Sneak Adtack.

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That’s Just So Mean! (HRC/NYP Edition)

Today’s New York Post was clearly channeling the National Enquirer with this Page One political screamer. (Tip o’ the pixel to the Newseum’s Today’s Front Pages.)




Even more hyperventilating than the front page was the piece itself, which was written by Edward Klein, a notorious Hillary-hater, writer of spasmodic accuracy, and evil Boswell to Barack Obama.


President Obama has quietly promised Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren complete support if she runs for president — a stinging rebuke to his nemesis Hillary Clinton, sources tell me.


Also stinging – the photos of Clinton the Post features, including this one:


2013 Greenbuild Conference


And this one:





Those two were online, and both pale by comparison with the one in the Post’s print edition, which does not seem to be online. (But just this once, take our word for it.)

As for Warren, the early money says it’s highly unlikely she’ll run (see this pro/con in the current issue of The New Republic).  But that doesn’t mean she might not stalk Clinton from here to election day, writes TNR’s Noam Scheiber:

The mere thought of Warren seems to rattle the Clintons, who are haunted by the debacle of 2008. When Warren’s Senate campaign asked Bill Clinton for help in 2012, he declined to appear in public with her, agreeing only to a photo at a private event that she could distribute . . .

Warren herself seems inclined to keep the Clintons on edge. She recently needled Hillary in The Washington Post over her “dead broke” comments and refused to entirely rule out a presidential run. In late April, she wrote an op-ed titled “The Citigroup Clique,” in which she announced her “growing frustration over the concentration of people with ties to the megabank Citigroup in senior government positions.”


Clintonistas, she’s talkin’ to you.

Meanwhile, this TNR photo of Clinton means we have our first bipartisan edition of Just So Mean!


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C’mon, guys – enough already!

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NYT’s Jim Brosnan Obit Lacks Heinz-Sight

Jim Brosnan, a baseball-hurler-turned-word-twirler, died last week, as the New York Times noted yesterday. From the estimable Bruce Weber’s obit:

Jim Brosnan, Who Threw Literature a Curve, Dies at 84

Jim Brosnan, who achieved modest baseball success as a relief pitcher but gained greater fame and consequence in the game by writing about it, died on June 29 in Park Ridge, Ill. He was 84.

The cause was an infection he developed while recovering from 04brosnan-master675a stroke, his son, Timothy, said.

In 1959, Brosnan, who played nine years in the major leagues, kept a diary of his experience as a pitcher, first with the St. Louis Cardinals and later, after a trade, with the Cincinnati Reds. Published the next year as “The Long Season,” it was a new kind of sportswriting — candid, shrewd and highly literate, more interested in presenting the day-to-day lives and the actual personalities of the men who played the game than in maintaining the fiction of ballplayers as all-American heroes and role models.

That’s all well-deserved and good, but then Weber lets Jonathan Yardley get away with this quote:

“At the dawn of the 1960s the literature of baseball was paltry,” the critic Jonathan Yardley wrote in The Washington Post in 2004. “Some good fiction had been inspired by the game, notably Ring Lardner’s ‘You Know Me Al’ and Bernard Malamud’s ‘The Natural,’ but nonfiction was little more than breathless sports-page reportage: hagiographic biographies of stars written for adolescents (‘Lou Gehrig: Boy of the Sandlots’), as-told-to quickies (‘Player-Manager’ by Lou Boudreau) and once-over-lightly histories of the game (‘The Baseball Story’ by Fred Lieb).

“Then one book changed everything: ‘The Long Season’ by a little-known relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds named Jim Brosnan.”

Except Yardley completely ignores the contributions to sportswriting of the great W.C. Heinz, whose work went way beyond “hagiographic biographies of stars written for adolescents . . . and once-over-lightly histories of the game.”

Heinz went deep, as his 2008 Times obituary noted:

W. C. Heinz, 93, Writing Craftsman, Dies

W. C. Heinz, the sports columnist, war correspondent, magazine writer and novelist who was considered one of the finest 28heinz.190journalistic stylists of his era, died Wednesday in Bennington, Vt. He was 93 . . .

From the 1940s to the 1960s, Mr. Heinz was among America’s foremost sports journalists, but his writing ranged beyond the sporting world. His contemporaries included Red Smith, A. J. Liebling, John Lardner, Grantland Rice and Jimmy Cannon. A colleague at The New York Sun, Frank Graham, was quoted in a Sports Illustrated profile of Mr. Heinz as having said, “At his best, he’s better than any of us.”

Just read Heinz’s devastating Death of a Racehorse from 1949 to know that Yardley’s assessment is eight yards of eyewash.

Not to mention Heinz’s 1958 novel The Professional, which Ernest Hemingway called the only good novel about boxing he had ever read.  Or go to your local public library, take out Once They Heard the Cheers, and read Heinz’s heartbreaking profile of Floyd Patterson.

Jonathan Yardley doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

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Weird Religious Ads in the New York Times (II)

On Friday the hardlypious staff noted the half-page ad that an outfit dauntingly called The Church of Almighty God ran in the New York Times.

Yesterday the Almighties doubled down with a full-page ad in the Times.


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Like the graphic, it’s all just a blur to us, no offense to the Almighties. But presumably college credits are available if you read the whole thing.

No guarantee they’re transferable, though.

God bless.

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Weird Religious Ads in the New York Times

First in a definite series

As dedicated readers of the New York Times will have noticed, all kinds of fringe religionistas run ads in the old Grey Lady on a regular basis. The hardlyworking staff has been remiss in failing to chronicle them in the past, but we’re prepared to rectify that, starting now.

So . . . in yesterday’s Times we encountered this on page A7:


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All you really need to know:


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But if you want more, go here.

God bless.

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Tales from the New York Times Subscription Desk

First in a possible series

As the hardmoving staff recently noted, the Missus and I are decamping from our happy home of 28 years and trundling back to the lovely courtyard building whence we came.

(Campaign Outsider Sidebar: Hey! America! Not to get technical about it, but whence means from where. So it follows that “from whence” is redundant at best, ridiculous at worst. Just FYI.)

And so we’ve been filing Change of Address forms as fast as we can.

All was going nicely until we came to our newspaper home delivery subscriptions. Boston Globe, check. Boston Herald, check. Wall Street Journal, check.

New York Times? Checkmate.

The Times subscriptionista told us we needed to cancel the day before we moved and re-subscribe the next day. Otherwise, he said, “you might get a New York Times delivered to both addresses.”

As Mona Lisa Vito might say:

Oh my God, what a fucking nightmare!

For a bunch of smart people, the Timesniks are real idiots.

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Correction o’ the Day (Bad News for Oysters Edition)

From Wednesday’s New York Times Corrections:


An article in some editions on Thursday about the approval of a $511 million loan to build a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge misstated the portion of the loan that could be spent on oyster bed restoration. It is $1.2 million, not $2.1 million.

Damn! And all this time we thought the oysters were sittin’ pretty.

Campaign Outsider Bonus

Best oyster quote ever (about tabloid publisher Sidney Kidd):

“The world’s his oyster with an R in every month.”

- C.K. Dexter Haven in The Philadelphia Story.

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New MBTA Operator Jumps the (Fast) Track

It’s been nothing like a smooth ride for Keolis Commuter Services, which has just replaced the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad Co. as the operator of local public transit systems.

First there was the factory-installed Boston race rumpus, in which local black ministers tried to extort $105,000 from Keolis (tip o’ the pixel to the Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker) to “promote diversity in running the city’s commuter rail system.”

Keolis pretty much said, Yeah – promote this.

Regardless, Keolis tried to wipe the slate clean with this ad in Tuesday’s Globe under the headline “All Aboard Framingham! All Aboard Rockport! All Aboard Stoughton! Welcome Aboard Boston!”


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Then came this story in Wednesday’s Globe:

Seafood truck crash mars Keolis’s 1st day at helm

It was not the debut Keolis Commuter Services officials had hoped for: Early Tuesday, a commercial truck hauling thousands of pounds of seafood crashed into a Westwood railroad overpass, starting a fire and shuttering both directions of morning service on the Franklin commuter rail line for two hours.

Yet MBTA General Manager Beverly A. Scott took an optimistic tone at a Tuesday morning press conference on Keolis’s first day running the commuter rail system.

“With the exception of the lobster truck,” Scott said, “everything has been going very, very smoothly.”

Uh-huh. Other than that, Ms. Scott, how was the play?

(Fun fact to know and tell: The Globe’s headline on the web failed to mention its advertising partner Keolis.)

Back to Keolis and its tagline Thinking Like a Passenger. The hardguessing staff believes passengers are thinking, Huh?

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Head-Scratching Ad o’ the Day (California Chrome Edition)

From our 25 Days Late, $50,000 Dollars Short desk

Two years ago Skechers USA got caught shortchanging consumers with deceptive advertising.

From a 2012 Federal Trade Commission press release:

Skechers Will Pay $40 Million to Settle FTC Charges That It Deceived Consumers with Ads for “Toning Shoes”

Consumers Who Bought Shape-ups, Other Toning Shoes Will Be Eligible for Refunds

The Federal Trade Commission announced that Skechers USA, ssu-refundInc. has agreed to pay $40 million to settle charges that the company deceived consumers by making unfounded claims that Shape-ups would help people lose weight, and strengthen and tone their buttocks, legs and abdominal muscles.

Besides Shape-ups, Skechers also made deceptive claims about its Resistance Runner, Toners, and Tone-ups shoes, the FTC alleged.

One week ago Skechers was accused of shortchanging its workers. From the Huffington Post’s Peter Dreier:

Footwear Giant Skechers Can Run, but It Can’t Hide From Abusive Labor Practices


Skechers, one of America’s largest footwear companies, can run, but it can’t hide.

A report released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), “Out of Step: How Skechers Hurts Its California Supply Chain Workers,” exposes the company’s troublesome labor practices. It is not a pretty sight.

The report reveals the mistreatment of the workers who deliver Skechers’ products — primarily shoes, apparel and luggage — from ports to warehouses to retail stores around the country and around the world. In doing so, “Out of Step” also exposes the huge gap between Skechers’ carefully crafted image as a hip retailer, which has led it to become a $1.8-billion corporation, and the reality of a company for whom truck drivers and warehouse workers labor under harsh, stressful, and exploitative conditions.

And one day ago Skechers admitted shortchanging New York Times readers in this strange half-page-ad tribute to Double Crown winner California Chrome (Skechers signed a sponsorship deal with the thoroughbred’s owners right before the third leg of the Triple Crown):


Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 12.21.23 AM




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First off, the Belmont Stakes (where California Chrome finished a disappointing fourth) was almost four weeks ago.

Beyond that, shouldn’t Skechers have taken out a 2/3-page ad in the Times?

Weird all the way around the course, eh?

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So Long to My Desk of 37 Years

Well the Missus and I are moving to a new place and, say, it’s swell.

It’s also smaller and more, er, refined than our current place.

So I decided my desk has to go.

Back story: In 1977, I shared a house on Route 9 in Chestnut Hill across from the Star Market with my high-school pal Howie Cusack and Bob McNutt, who I didn’t really know at all. Eventually McNutt left – and left behind a very nice dresser and a very . . . well, a desk. Howie took the former; I took the latter.

And kept it ever since.

It’s a plain old walnut desk, as solid as the day is long.



Courtesy: The Missus


Note the deep drawer lower right, where Philip Marlowe would have kept a bottle of whatever he decided to get outside of when things went bad.

Me, I’ve written hundreds of thousands of words on this desk, often after getting outside of one thing or another myself.

And these are the last words I’m writing on it:

Ave atque vale, old walnut desk.

All due respect to Howie, I got the better of the deal.

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